Lingyin Temple was a great surprise to us. Jim had found out about this temple which near by the West Lake of great fame (and to be seen currently being advertised on the side of a London Double-Decker bus) and had thought we should spend a short morning wandering around before we went to walk around the Lake and strolled gently. As it happened, at dusk we had still not seen barely a third of the temple, had got lost 3 times, and had great difficulty finding me anything vegetarian to eat… in a Buddhist Temple! Yes, well vegetarian Buddhism is hard to find in Asia as we found out in Thailand too.
That said the temple – or more correctly temples and shrines, are set in a mountain garden. There are steps carved up rock faces, there are forests , streams and ponds, there are caves with hundreds of Buddhas carved into them and there is an entrance with large neon letters saying, in English, Welcome to Lingyin Temple!
A mountain garden that was remarkably peaceful despite all the tourists.
Yes, the usual mix of sell the tourist some ‘stuff’ – and some real worshippers were to be found. There was a large compound where the main temple was and where we eventually found ourselves – after asking several Australians how to get there – some of whom knew and some were as lost as we were…